When leaders fail to seize the moment, they undermine their leadership. What prevents you from seizing your opportunity to lead?
By Saffron Cooper, OASC Midwest Rep. | When I think of the opportunities (as a leader, student, and person) I’ve missed in my life, I realize that nearly every time, it was due to fear of failure and the shame associated with it. Society drills into our brains that failure is bad and should be avoided at all costs, because it means you’re doing something wrong. I’ve come to the conclusion recently that failure really isn’t all that bad. It’s not something to get stuck in, but it is something to embrace and learn from. I feel that I’ve learned the most from the failures and struggles in my life, and let them motivate me to accomplish my goals. Success wouldn’t be so special without downfalls, right? Every person considered successful has seen failure, just like us. J.K. Rowling was rejected by multiple publishing companies, Walt Disney was allegedly turned down hundreds of times before he got financing for Disneyland, and Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime. But they kept writing, kept trying, and kept painting, because they believed in what they were doing regardless of being considered a ‘failure’ at some point. It’s time to embrace the fact that failure isn’t the opposite of success, it’s a part of it.
by Madisyn Montgomery, OASC State President | Throughout my leadership experience, I’d discovered I grow insecure or unsure about leading when I’m not familiar with the project my team is heading. For example, in the first grade a few of my friends asked me to lead an art club because they wanted to learn how to draw a flower the way I could. I was nervous and felt incapable to teach others something I barely knew how to do myself. They were only doodles and balls of scribbles with outward lines that somehow managed to look impressive. I denied the idea and refrained from drawing another flower again.
Later in middle school, I joined student council with some of my close friends. They encouraged me to lead the decorating team for our winter dance. Although middle school dances are far from intimidating, I proceeded to feel unqualified to head the committee when I’d never even been to a dance before, let alone one where all of my peers would be there to judge my work. This is the way I would think. Although, these hesitations in my leadership journey did not inhibit my opportunity to lead in other ways, such as card making for retirement homes during Christmas or reading chapter books to kindergarteners. I found alternate ways to express my passion for leadership.
It wan’t until the summer of my freshman year where I attended my first OASC camp that I realized I could lead in a new way. There, I was not only challenged to become a greater leader but I was empowered with the development of my leadership voice. By exploring and discovering my style of leadership, I grew confident in taking risks to lead even when I didn’t feel completely comfortable. This is because I knew my excitement for the project and trust in my team would shine through any hesitations, enabling me to seize any chance to lead. With the help of OASC, I’ve only grown more willing to embrace each leadership opportunity and I can’t wait to see what opportunities lie ahead.